January 2016 will go down as one for the record books.
It was a month of record precipitation with at least half the days sporting wind, thunder and roof-pounding rain. Often, driving was turned into a death sport (grim reminder is the swamped car that remains submerged in the middle fork gorge with its driver and passenger unaccounted for and presumed dead). Often, during the heaviest nighttime rains, sleep was impossible.
Another one for the record book is fishing. It’s been off the charts with guides crowding the nearby Hiouchi Hamlet in the early hours as they meet up with clients. Like old times. True, the catch has been predominately wild steelhead (as opposed to hatchery raised) and therefore not ones that can be kept, but it’s been amazing to watch sportfishermen pull in steelhead after steelhead.
And mushroom foraging — basically a non-event last winter with hardly a single fungi found — has been solid. Need mushrooms for a pizza? Take a walk in the redwood forest. Thinking of adding mushrooms to a salad, frittata, or red sauce? Grab Molly and head for the hills. Forty minutes later and you’ve got yourself a pound of hedgehogs and yellow foot to saute up. Very nice.
The bnb had a record January, too, as did the local motel (based on informal sightings of a parking lot that has been uncharacteristically full).
Setting our sights for the future, we are aiming for a -0.9 low tide in about a week when razor clam will just barely be present, so with luck we’ll extend this batting streak of riches to that endeavor as well.
The one blemish so far this year is the absence of crabbing and therefore crabs. Warm waters last summer resulted in an algae bloom that has adversely affected crabs. For now, crabs remain unfishable. (If you have a yen for eating crabs, however, I suggest you head for the Crab Shack in the Crescent City harbor. A first time visit for Meg and I netted the most delicious two-pound dungeness; it blew us away. Claws packed with meat and a flavor to die for. Of course the crabs are sourced from Oregon waters so they are safer to eat than ours. Bravo to Crab Shack partners Windy and Debbie who ply their trade without a lot of fanfare. It’s a destination worth noting and noting still that the crabs are served quite naked — no lemon or sauce; only napkins — but really, we didn’t miss any of that the taste was so outstanding.)
On to a recap of January’s guests…it was a stellar bunch indeed. Returnees Carlo and Donna made haste and completed their second stay at the bnb each. Carlo returned with his brother Michael for three days of bank fishing; Donna returned with husband Joe and son David and David’s gf Marley. Both are angling to return for third stays as well. Joe and Grace returned for their third stay with us. It’s getting to be like family around here!
To recap the recap…January was the month us river folk were supposed to have been recharging the batteries and generally catching up on sleep. Netflix, slow cooker brisket, mornings with sunshine not the sound of an alarm to wake us.
But no. This was really one for the records.